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The trajectory of general movements from birth until 12 - 14 weeks corrected age in very lowbirthweight and extremely low-birthweight infants born preterm

R Krynauw, J C F du Preeez, J I van Zyl, M Burger

Abstract


Background. General movement assessment (GMA) is an assessment tool with high predictive validity for neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants. Information available describing the trajectory of general movements (GMs) in high-risk preterm-born infants and the use thereof in low- and middle-income countries is limited.

Objective. To describe the trajectories of GMs from birth until 12 - 14 weeks’ corrected age, and determine the association of known perinatal risk factors on GM trajectories in very low-birthweight and extremely low-birthweight preterm infants.

Methods. This was a longitudinal, prospective cohort study with 119 preterm infants born at <33 weeks’ gestation and with a birthweight <1 500 g. GMs were recorded at four key age periods: 1 - 2 weeks after birth to 33 weeks post menstrual age (PMA); 34 - 37 weeks PMA; term equivalent age (TEA); and 12 - 14 weeks corrected age. Detailed perinatal data were collected.

Results. A total of 300 GMAs were conducted, 157 during the preterm age, 55 during TEA and 88 at 12 - 14 weeks corrected age. At <33 weeks PMA, 96% of GMs were abnormal and 4% normal. At 34 - 37 weeks PMA, 89% of GMs were abnormal and 11% normal. All GMs recorded at term equivalent age were abnormal. At 12 - 14 weeks corrected age, 7% of GMs were abnormal and 93% normal.

Conclusion. GMs were predominantly abnormal prior to term with a significant decrease in abnormality at 12 - 14 weeks corrected age. Lower birthweight and lower PMA were associated with increased odds for abnormal GMs. In a resource-constrained environment, observing GMs at 12 - 14 weeks corrected age (during the fidgety period) is a time- and cost-effective method to determine the risk for adverse neurodevelopment.


Authors' affiliations

R Krynauw, Physiotherapy Division, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

J C F du Preeez, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

J I van Zyl, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa 3 Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

M Burger, Physiotherapy Division, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2022;16(2):99.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-07-22
Date published: 2022-07-22

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